Just take a look at this list. Really, just do it. Now. GISHA caveats that the list is approximate and partial, and it changes from time to time, and that some of the items are permitted only for use by international organizations (lest the Red Cross have a midnight Lion Bar craving). It is based on information from Palestinian traders and businesspersons, international organizations, and the Palestinian Coordination Committee.
The list was published alongside a press release informing that after 12 months of unsuccessful attempts by Gisha, Israel has finally admitted that it does indeed possess a list of goods whose admission into the Gaza Strip is permitted (no surprise there, but now its official).
Cattle and coffee. Notebooks and newspapers. Sugar and spice and shoes. Baby wipes, batteries, blankets. Diapers (back to cloth, I guess? Perhaps another “greenwashing” scheme?). Cilantro, cumin, pomegranates, or ginger. Tinned meat, macaroni, tahini, or powdered milk. And on and on.
Once again we see how invasive the occupation is-how the siege determines not only what food you have on your plate, but what you can and cannot read, how you move, what you clothe yourself with. Or as far as children are concerned, what you play with (yes, toys are on the list too).
Oh, and it has also surfaced that they are calculating how many calories each person needs. Because remember what Dov Weisglass said before this all started: “think of it like an appointment with a dietitian. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”
GISHA’s tireless director had this to say of the matter to the BBC:
Sari Bashi, says she is no security expert, “but preventing children from receiving toys, preventing manufacturers from getting raw materials – I don’t see how that’s responsive to Israeli security needs.”
And she says that some of the prohibitions appear to be absurdly arbitrary: “I certainly don’t understand why cinnamon is permitted, but coriander is forbidden. Is there something more dangerous about coriander? Is coriander more critical to Gaza’s economy than cinnamon? This is a policy that appears to make no sense.”